Margaret Court Transcended Both Amateur And Professional Eras
Victor P Taffa
Sport of Tennis has had many great players in both Amateur and Professional eras however if there was one player who transcended both it was Margaret Court.
Margaret Court for many reasons can be regarded as the greatest Tennis Player either Male or Female in the history of the sport.
Some great players have only a relatively short career while others are able to have a long and successful time at the top.
Margaret Court was lucky enough to be relatively free of injury and span both the Amateur and Professional eras notwithstanding the great Rod Laver.
Margaret Court began playing tennis when she was 8 years old and in 1960 turned was 18 when she won the first of 7 consecutive singles titles at the Australian Championships. Margaret Court retired in late 1977.
Rod Laver was the No. 1 ranked professional from 1964-70, spanning 4 years before and 3 years after the start of the Open Era in 1968. He also was the No. 1 ranked amateur in 1961–62. Rod Lave retired in 1979.
Margaret Court and Ken Rosewall
Margaret Court won 11 of her 24 titles at the Australian Opens on grass whereas Ken Rosewall was never able to win Wimbledon on grass yet won 4 of his 8 titles on grass at the Australian Open.
Rod Laver and Margaret Court
Rod Laver won 4 of his 11 titles at Wimbledon on grass yet Margaret Court conquered grass in 14 of her 24 titles.
Australian Open was played on grass until 1987.
John Bromwich and Adrian Quist
John Bromwich and Adrian Quist won Australian Open Men’s Doubles in 1938, 39 and 1940. Competitions were not played in 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945 yet they both returned to dominate Australian Open Mens Doubles in 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950.
Thelma Coyne Long and Nancye Wynne Bolton
Thelma Coyne Long and Nancye Wynne Bolton won Australian Open Women’s Doubles in 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1940. Competitions were not played in 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945 yet they both returned to dominate Australian Open Womens Doubles in 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951 and 1952.
Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert
Martina Navratilova spanning 2 countries won 9 of her 18 titles on Grass at Wimbledon whereas Chris Evert won 7 of 18 titles on clay at the French Open.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer has so far only won 1 of his 20 titles on clay at the French Open while winning 8 titles on grass at Wimbledon whereas Rafael Nadal has so far won 1 of his 17 titles on rebound ace at the Australian Open and 11 titles on clay at the French Open.
In considering the greatest player one must remember that the best man must be able to defeat the best man on his day and the best female must be able to defeat the best female on her day.
To expect the best man to defeat the best female in the same match or vice versa is not a balanced and fair contest given the different physical attributes of both a male and female.
As such there can be the best male player and the best female player yet one can be the greatest player of all time.
Time honoured debate of one era cannot be compared to another era is true however Margaret Court played and won Major Championships in the Professional era.
Margaret Court could have been as dominant had she been playing in 2019.
While Rod Laver won 2 Grand Slams in 1962 and 1969 there are other factors such as intervention of World Wars I & II and also the end of Amateur and beginning of Professional eras to consider.
World Wars I & II
Gaps caused by World Wars 1 & II were entirely different situations to a lack of performance by Australia in Major Championships since 1976. Players who won Major Championships before World War II returned to form and dominated after the war.
This article only considers who won which particular men’s or women’s 4 Major Championships.
After all it is these that are the benchmark of a Tennis Player whereas the Men’s Team Davis Cup and Women’s Team Fed Cup Tennis Competitions are the benchmark of the strength and depth of a nations Tennis Players.
- Australian Open Men’s or Women’s
- French Open Men’s or Women’s
- Wimbledon Gentleman’s or Ladies
- US Open Men’s or Women’s
Tennis Grand Slam
Term Grand Slam, without qualification, and also originally, refers to the achievement of winning all 4 major championships within a single calendar year within one of the 5 events:
- Men’s singles;
- Women’s singles;
- Men’s doubles;
- Women’s doubles;
- Mixed doubles.
Men’s Singles Grand Slam
Only two players have been able to win all four Majors in a single year. Rod Laver achieved this on two occasions.
1969 Rod Laver (AUS)
1962 Rod Laver (AUS)
1938 Don Budge (USA)
Women’s Singles Grand Slam
Only three players have been able to win all four Majors in a single year.
1988* Steffi Graf (WEG)
1970 Margaret Court (AUS)
1953 Maureen Connolly (USA)
*Golden Slam (also won the Olympic Gold medal)
Most Women’s Major Tennis Championship Singles Titles (5 or more)
|Margaret Court (AUS)||24||11||5||3||5|
|Serena Williams (USA)||23||7||3||7||6|
|Steffi Graf (WEG, GER)||22||4||6||7||5|
|Helen Wills Moody (USA)||19||0||4||8||7|
|Chris Evert (USA)||18||2||7||3||6|
|Martina Navratilova (CZE, USA)||18||3||2||9||4|
|Billie Jean King (USA)||12||1||1||6||4|
|Maureen Connolly (USA)||9||1||2||3||3|
|Monica Seles (YUG, USA)||9||4||3||0||2|
|Suzanne Lenglen (FRA)||8||0||2||6||0|
|Molla Bjurstedt Mallory (NOR, USA)||8||0||0||0||8|
|Dorothea Lambert Chambers (UK)||7||0||0||7||0|
|Maria Bueno (BRA)||7||0||0||3||4|
|Evonne Goolagong (AUS)||7||4||1||2||0|
|Justine Henin (BE)||7||1||4||0||2|
|Venus Williams (USA)||7||0||0||5||2|
|Blanche Bingley Hillyard (UK)||6||0||0||6||0|
|Margaret Osborne duPont (USA)||6||0||2||1||3|
|Nancye Wynne Bolton (AUS)||6||6||0||0||0|
|Louise Brough (USA)||6||1||0||4||1|
|Doris Hart (USA)||6||1||2||1||2|
|Lottie Dod (UK)||5||0||0||5||0|
|Charlotte Cooper Sterry (UK)||5||0||0||5||0|
|Daphne Akhurst (AUS)||5||5||0||0||0|
|Helen Jacobs (USA)||5||0||0||1||4|
|Alice Marble (USA)||5||0||0||1||4|
|Pauline Betz (USA)||5||0||0||1||4|
|Althea Gibson (USA)||5||0||1||2||2|
|Martina Hingis (SWI)||5||3||0||1||1|
|Maria Sharapova (RUS)||5||1||2||1||1|
Most Men’s Major Tennis Championship Singles Titles (5 or more)
|Roger Federer (SWI)||20||6||1||8||5|
|Rafael Nadal (SPA)||17||1||11||2||3|
|Novak Djokovic (SER)||15||7||1||4||3|
|Pete Sampras (USA)||14||2||0||7||5|
|Roy Emerson (AUS)||12||6||2||2||2|
|Rod Laver (AUS)||11||3||2||4||2|
|Bjorn Borg (SWE)||11||0||6||5||0|
|Bill Tilden (USA)||10||0||0||3||7|
|Fred Perry (UK)||8||1||1||3||3|
|Ken Rosewall (AUS)||8||4||2||0||2|
|Jimmy Connors (USA)||8||1||0||2||5|
|Ivan Lendl (CZE)||8||2||3||0||3|
|Andre Agassi (USA)||8||4||1||1||2|
|Richard Sears (USA)||7||0||0||0||7|
|William Renshaw (UK)||7||0||0||7||0|
|William Larned (USA)||7||0||0||0||7|
|Rene Lacoste (FRA)||7||0||3||2||2|
|Henri Cochet (FRA)||7||0||4||2||1|
|John Newcombe (AUS)||7||2||0||3||2|
|John McEnroe (USA)||7||0||0||3||4|
|Mats Wilander (SWE)||7||3||3||0||1|
|Laurence Doherty (UK)||6||0||0||5||1|
|Anthony Wilding (NZ)||6||2||0||4||0|
|Jack Crawford (AUS)||6||4||1||1||0|
|Don Budge (USA)||6||1||1||2||2|
|Stefan Edberg (SWE)||6||2||0||2||2|
|Boris Becker (WEG, GER)||6||2||0||3||1|
|Frank Sedgman (AUS)||5||2||0||1||2|
|Tony Trabert (USA)||5||0||2||1||2|
This article could go on and Tennis will be the winner from a debate as to who was the greatest player of all time, male or female.
Editor Victor P Taffa considers that Margaret Court to be the greatest player of all time male or female.
Editor Victor P Taffa while attending school at St. Patrick’s College Strathfield did have tennis lessons with a wooden handle tennis racquet.
UK United Kingdom
USA United States of America
WEG West Germany